Jobs & Internships


Robotics Engineer


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a highly motivated and enthusiastic Robotics Engineer to join the Oceanographic Systems Lab (OSL) within the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department (AOPE). This is a regular full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.

The Robotics Engineer will perform a wide range of mechanical design and system testing tasks related to autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and their subsystems. The position will include both mechanical (70%) and systems (30%) engineering, with a focus on detailed design of mechanical systems and integration of multiple electrical subsystems, sensors and power sources.

This position also includes participating and leading at-sea operations of AUV’s in support of multiple programs. The successful candidate with have proven leadership skills necessary to lead a team of technicians and engineers through a design project or field cruise. Excellent writing and communication skills for both team collaboration and publishing reports and papers and proposal writing are a must. Members of this team all spend time both in the office/lab and in the field. Field operations range from test missions to science, exploration, or disaster response and support military research and development. Previous missions have included oil spill response, locating black boxes and airplanes, mapping unexplored parts of the ocean, and studying sharks and sea turtles just to name a few. Past project sponsors include NSF, NOAA, Office of Naval Research, DARPA, BSEE, Discovery Channel, NAVOCEANO, foreign governments, philanthropic organizations, and corporations.

The internal working titles for this position could be either Engineer II or Research Engineer. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate’s level of education & experience.

Essential Functions

Engineer II:

With some supervision to achieve assigned objectives, identifies and participates in engineering projects in support of scientific and research activities through the demonstration of one or more specialized skills. Will be expected to work on tasks requiring creativity and independent thinking, along with a proven understanding of fundamental research and engineering principles.

Research Engineer:

With little supervision, works creatively and independently to establish objectives, meet deadlines, and complete difficult engineering assignments by demonstrating full competency in one or more engineering areas; assists substantively in planning technical aspects of experiments, as well as design, testing, and use of major system components.

Both levels need to comfortably perform the following functions:

  • Use solid modeling tools such as Solidworks to design mechanical devices including pressure housings, chassis parts, instrument cages, underwater vehicle assemblies and related items from a variety of different materials.
  • Utilize electrical design tools such as Orcad to create and modify system schematics and design simple circuits.
  • Prepare designs for fabrication and work with suppliers, machine shops and finishing houses to create complete products.
  • Integrate mechanical and electrical systems, incrementally test and document results.
  • Prepare systems for laboratory and dockside testing.
  • Use existing software tools or create appropriate tools in Python or a high-level language to aid in testing, calibration and verification of instruments.
  • Support operation and use of systems at sea and in the ice environments during cruises and field work (cruise time can vary from one to six weeks).
  • Experience using PDM tools for tracking bills of materials and building complex systems such as AUVs.
  • Contribute new ideas to the development of AUV systems and their applications.
  • Cost estimation for complex engineering systems.


  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience

Engineer II:

Master's degree in a relevant Engineering or science environment or 2-3 years of experience in a relevant field.

Research Engineer:

Ph.D. in related engineering field, or Master's degree in an Engineering or appropriate field with several years of related experience, or Bachelor's degree in an Engineering or appropriate field with more than five years of related experience.

For both levels, the desired experience includes the following, in order of importance:

  • Relevant experience with 3D CAD modeling software such as SolidWorks.
  • Recent tactical experience working with electrical design tools .
  • Previous experience in an industrial or research setting including interaction with machinists, machine shops and customers.
  • Previous experience with electrical and mechanical systems in a marine environment.
  • Background in Microsoft Office tools plus project management and team coordination software.

Special Requirements

  • TWIC
  • Must be US Citizen
  • Security Clearance
  • Must have valid driver's license

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

To Apply: